In 2014, Michael Jordan became the first athlete to become a billionaire – his massive net worth was largely influenced by his deal with Nike, which would later give birth to Air Jordan.
Before inking a deal with Nike, the brand played second fiddle to then leading brands like Adidas, Reebok, and Converse.
Adidas was 50 percent larger by revenue at the time, and Reebok was doing better in the market than Nike. However, Converse was the brand choice for many NBA stars, including Jordan, and upcoming players like Larry Bird and Julius Erving, Forbes reported.
Jordan wore Converse back in his days at the University of North Carolina and was set to join Adidas when he was first drafted by the Chicago Bulls. However, his agent, David Falk, wanted him to join Nike, owing to his close relationship with the brand.
Jordan was adamant and firmly told his manager he was not interested. Falk then appealed to Jordan’s mother, Deloris, to convince the then-21-year-old to join the sportswear brand.
He eventually accepted Nike’s deal and from there, started working on his own shoe brand, which led to the birth of Air Jordan. Falk explained to Marie Claire how the name Air Jordan came about.